Safety regulators say drivers are not listening. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been warning drivers about defective airbags that can rupture and send metal fragments flying inside vehicles since 2008. It is the largest recall ever in the United States. More than 275,000 vehicles with defective airbags are on Houston roads now, and nearly 10,000 of that number are considered so high risk, NHTSA has asked people to stop driving them until the airbags are replaced.
A group of city leaders have organized a movement called Airbag Recall: Houston to get more people to listen and act. They say 68 percent of the recalled vehicles with defective airbags in Houston remain un-repaired. They worry more drivers could die as a result. The faulty airbags have killed 10 people across the country; two of those fatalities were in the Houston area. Dealers do not have the replacement airbags for all of the recalled vehicles now, but the U.S. Department of Transportation says the parts to repair the highest risk vehicles are available now.
The defective airbags break down over time. High heat and humidity make them more susceptible to rupturing. It's why Houston cars are higher risk. The NHTSA has asked drivers with the following vehicles to stop driving them until they are repaired:
• 2001-2002 Honda Civic
• 2001-2002 Honda Accord
• 2002-2003 Acura TL
• 2002 Honda CR-V
• 2002 Honda Odyssey
• 2003 Acura CL
• 2003 Honda Pilot
Of the 10 deadly airbag accidents, eight of them involved one of the vehicles above. It is why safety advocates say it is imperative that if you, or someone you know, drives one of them, you call a dealership to make arrangements to get it repaired for free now. Honda is offering rental cars to drivers of the above vehicles if they need one while repairs are being made. The fix should not take long. And NHTSA says that, in some instances, manufacturers will even arrange to have your vehicle towed to a dealership for the repair at no cost just to make sure it is repaired. If you are having a hard time getting a dealership to replace your faulty airbag, you can call NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.